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Thomas H. Watkins

Thomas H. Watkins

Senior Counsel
Austin
office: 512.703.5752
fax: 512.479.1101
Overview

Tom has practiced full-time litigation for more than 40 years. He focuses on high-profile, bet-the-company litigation in healthcare, patent, oil and gas, environmental and general commercial litigation.

Tom's experience on behalf of industry clients includes:

  • Defended a Canadian company in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by a Fortune 100 company seeking more than $5 million in damages for control of the telecommunications splicing market. Case was resolved favorably for client.
  • Represented owner of next-generation technology company relating to the clarity of flat-panel televisions in a lawsuit against a Japanese multinational corporation concerning compliance with a license agreement.

Tom defends numerous legal malpractice cases and serves as an expert witness with regard to the Texas disciplinary rules of professional conduct in numerous cases.

A frequent speaker on industry issues and ethics, Tom has lectured for the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, the University of Texas Law CLE, the National Business Institute, Travis County Bar Association, Practicing Law Institute, University of Houston Law Center, Water Law Institute, Williamson County Bar, Austin Bar, Corpus Christi Bar and the New Mexico Bar.

Before joining the firm, he was a partner at Brown McCarroll.


Industries

Services

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Environmental, Litigation-Patent, 1989-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • State Bar of Texas, Presidential Citation for leadership in improving bar’s grievance system, 1999; Gene Cavin Award for Excellence in Continuing Legal Education, 2003
  • State Bar of Texas Foundation, Lola Wright Foundation Award, 1995
  • Texas Center for Legal Ethics, Professionalism Award, 2003
  • Texas Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2003-2007, 2009-2016; Top 50, Central/West Texas, 2003-2007, 2009-2014
  • Travis County Bar Association, Distinguished Lawyer Award, 2000

Education

  • LL.B., University of Texas at Austin School of Law
      • Phi Delta Phi
  • B.A., University of Oklahoma
    • Government

Admissions

  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, fellow
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Austin Junior Bar Association, president, 1972
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas, Board of Disciplinary Appeals, chair, 1992-1994; District 9 Grievance Committee, chair, 1986-1989; Board of Directors, 1981-1983; CLE Committee, chair, 1992-1995
  • Supreme Court Task Force on Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, chair
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association
  • Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline, 1995-1999
  • Travis County Bar Association, president, 1979
Experience
  • Defended a California-based startup company against patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secret claims relating to semiconductor technology used in cell phones. Achieved favorable results for client.
  • Defended a Canadian company in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by a Fortune 100 company that sought over $5 million in damages/injunction giving it control of the telecommunications splicing market. Case was tried to a federal court jury, with favorable verdict invalidating two of plaintiff’s patents due to obviousness and anticipation. Also, jury invalidated several claims of another patent for indefiniteness.
  • Defended the Texas State Board of Insurance in a $22 million attorneys’ fee claim for wrongful prosecution of individuals in an insurance company takedown resulting in take-nothing judgment against the board.
  • Represented owner of next-generation technology relating to the clarity of flat-panel televisions in a lawsuit against a Japanese multinational corporation concerning compliance with a license agreement between the two. The case was filed in federal court in Austin, Texas.
  • Defended a German company in a patent infringement lawsuit filed against it by a university and dominant company in the field of rapid prototyping systems using laser technology.
  • Represented a municipality in defending an environmental ordinance against a high profile, media-driven constitutional attack by local developers. Statute ultimately upheld by the Texas Supreme Court.
  • Defended legal malpractice/breach of fiduciary duty case in a $30 million claim and forfeiture of a seven-figure contingent attorneys’ fee. Settled the case with a payment of funds to client for his portion of fee for underlying litigation.
  • Represented 1,600 class members in a lawsuit against a developer and lender; obtained settlement approved by the district court, the bankruptcy court reorganization and a class action settlement approval.
  • Defended client’s $10 million ownership interest involving adverse claim to stock ownership in a closely-held corporation among in-fighting shareholders. Won summary judgment that was upheld on appeal.
Community Leadership
  • First United Methodist Church of Austin, Endowment Board, chair, 2008-present
  • March of Dimes, State Advocacy and Government, chair, 2003-present
  • National Association of Mental Health, director, 1973; vice president, 1972-1974; president, 1976
  • Texas Association of Mental Health, director, 1968; treasurer, 1969; president, 1970
  • Travis County Mental Health Association, director, 1968; vice president, 1969